“I won’t quit ‘til I’m a star … on Broadway.” Jazz great George Benson sang it best when describing the neon lights and never-ending font of young talent singing, acting, and dancing their way to stardom in the daily live performances in the theatres of Broadway.

As the heart of the American theatre industry, the Broadway Theatre District is known for its many theatres, some of which have presenting live shows for over 50 years. The Majestic Theatre is one of the largest Broadway theatres and continues to present the longest running show on Broadway, The Phantom of the Opera. Other well-known theatres in the district include The Belasco, The Imperial, The Palace, The Shubert, the Ambassador and the Winter Garden (home of the musical Cats for 18 years.)

The district became widely known as “the Great White Way” before the turn-of-the-century when a mile of Broadway Avenue became one of the first electrically lighted streets in the U.S. in 1880 with Brush arc lamps. The hustle and bustle of the streets, the maddening neon signs of Times Square, the street “celebrities” like the Naked Cowboy and costumed characters, and the mix of young actors walking the streets trying to entice tourists to buy tickets for their new, less-popular, or off-Broadway shows creates an energy and an atmosphere that is like nothing else.

Today, with the current trend of Hollywood actors taking the stage, visitors to Broadway will likely see a number of well-known celebrities in live performances. In fact, the small, intimate theatre venues allow far more close-up views of celebrities than visitors can experience anywhere else.

Many consider that the best musical and theatre talent in the world is offered on Broadway. With endless productions of big-budget shows with dramatic special effects and dramatic classics, to off-Broadway performances and experimental off-off Broadway shows.

While theatre tickets may run over $75 to $200, visitors are encouraged to wait in line at the TKTS kiosk in the center of Times Square to buy half-price or dramatically reduced seats for same-day performances. Arrive early, pack a snack and water, and bring a camera; you’ll enjoy the people watching as much as you will the performance. No matter what you see, or how long you visit, no trip to the Big Apple is complete without a visit to Broadway.